I have so much emotion and information rolling around in my head, and I’m not sure where to start. I’ve been sitting with the results of the election since before it was officially called, and I haven’t been able to make myself put my thoughts into words.
First, for the sake of the historicity of my blog, I’ll offer a summary. (I know I appreciated that when I was revisiting my entry about the Bush v. Kerry race in 2004.)
The Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, had a background in law and decades of experience in politics: First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State. The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, was best known as a real estate mogul, billionaire, owner of several beauty pageants, and host of the reality show The Apprentice.
Supporters of Trump hoped he would Make America Great Again, per his campaign slogan, and “drain the swamp” of corruption. Supporters of Clinton wanted to continue the progress of the Obama Administration and to see the first woman in the White House. Many people considered a Clinton vote to be the lesser of two evils — meet the new boss, same as the old boss — and a vote to keep Trump out of power.
Each candidate had their own scandals. Some people took issue with Clinton’s actions as Secretary of State (or even as First Lady), or the fact that she used a private email server while in office. Trump revealed himself as a racist and misogynist with a foul mouth and an equally foul temperament.
I was hoping for a Clinton victory — or, more accurately, I was hoping for a Trump defeat. I opted to fill out an absentee ballot so I could vote at my convenience by mail.
When I finally went to bed on Election Night, the poll returns weren’t looking good:
When I awoke the next morning, the results I had both expected and feared smacked me in the face:
In the days since, I’ve read reports of assholery on both sides.
I’ve read several anecdotes of immigrants and people of color being discriminated against, denied service, and generally told off in the name of “Trump’s America.” What’s the most concerning about this, to me, is that people don’t turn into racist assholes overnight; the current political climate has normalized this behavior and made people feel free to speak their minds and let their repressed inner assholes shine through. Either that, or these sorts of incidents weren’t being reported as often before — which is also likely and unfortunate. As a white middle class woman living in a predominantly white neighborhood and working an office job downtown, I don’t see the discrimination happen firsthand. I know it happens. I just don’t see it daily like some do.
On the other side of the coin, Trump opponents have been protesting in major cities across the country — peaceably, for the most part. Protestors in LA managed to clog the 101 until the LAPD led them off the highway. Two separate groups of NYC protestors converged to block off the streets around Trump International Hotel. The protest in Portland, Oregon devolved into a riot, per local police.
I’ve spent my worry time doing what I do: reading, researching, and gathering data. My initial thought had been to post links to all the articles I’ve found by actual political scientists, but in the interest of actually getting this entry posted in a timely fashion, I’m opting to sum up instead. Apart from the sheer divisiveness and racism amongst the general populace, here’s what really worries me about the incoming Trump Administration:
- Science denial, including climate change
- Foreign policy
- Civil rights, including discrimination and surveillance
Here’s what I hope won’t suck:
- Health care (since a complete repeal of ACA is unlikely, but it could be improved)
- Fiscal policy
- Tax law/reform
As my co-worker helpfully pointed out (Hi, N! *waves*), not all Republicans are drinking the orange Kool-Aid. No president’s campaign promises all come to fruition, for whatever reason — partisan politics, logistical issues, or just general overpromising (or perhaps intentional bait-and-switch, or negotiation tactics).
I’ve been reading articles and opinion pieces from all sides, including Trump supporters and political scientists who interviewed and studied Trump supporters. What I’m gathering is that the rural parts of the country — white laborers, especially — are feeling left in the lurch, like they aren’t getting what they expected out of their hard work. They want a change. From a high level, I can appreciate that. I don’t necessarily think Trump is the change this country needed right now, but I can appreciate someone voting for an “outsider” instead of more of the same politics.
What really worries me about this outsider is that he knows how to delegate. I suspect that his administration will actually be run by his ultra-conservative advisors and other politicians who know how to work the system. He might actually make some of his campaign promises happen.
I want to be optimistic. I really do. But the best I can muster at this point is pushing down that sick feeling in my stomach and hoping we can retain (or regain) some civility.